NEWPORT, Francis II (c.1555-1623), of High Ercall, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. c.1555, 1st s. of (Sir) Richard Newport†, and bro. of Andrew. educ. Shrewsbury 1569-71; Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 1574; I. Temple 1577. m. Beatrice, da. of Roland Lacon of Willey, 3s. 4da. suc. fa. 1570. Kntd. 21 Apr. 1603.1
J.p. Salop from c.1582, sheriff 1586-7, 1601-2, dep. lt. 1590, commr. for poor 1598; member, council in the marches of Wales 1601.2
Sir Richard Newport, a member of the council in the marches, and thrice sheriff of Shropshire, bequeathed an important position in the county to his son, who became a ward of the Queen. During his own second shrievalty, Francis Newport was described as a ‘worthy and valiant man’. He must have been wealthy, for in 1588 he contributed £50 for the defence of the realm. The Privy Council entrusted him with several difficult commissions, such as the apprehension, in 1593, of three servants of (Sir) Walter Leveson. In 1600, as a man ‘of good discretion, and well affected in religion’ he was charged to arrest seminary priests, supposed to be hiding in the district. As knight for Shropshire in 1593 he was entitled to attend the subsidy committee on 26 Feb., and a legal committee 9 Mar.3
One of his chief interests, and the focus of much of his energy, was the rebuilding of his two houses, Eyton-on-Severn, and High Ercall Hall: the former was completed by 1595, the latter in 1608. At Eyton he employed as his master mason one Walter Hancocks, ‘a very skilful man in the art of masonry, in setting of plots for buildings and performing the same’ but before High Ercall was completed, Hancocks had died, which may explain the peculiar structure of the house, the two lower storeys being of massive stonework, and the top of diapered brick.4
Newport was a kindly man and a benefactor to the poor like his mother, ‘a virtuous lady all her life, and very good to the poor in town and country’. In 1582 he wrote to the bailiffs of Shrewsbury, asking them to give the scholars ‘leave to play’, while in 1594 he commended a poor widow to their charity. In his will he left over £80 to be divided between the poor of Shrewsbury, Wellington, Newport, High Ercall, Wroxeter, Atcham, Upton Magna and Waters Upton. The will, dated 18 Feb. 1621, made provision for his children, and left legacies to several servants. It directed that he was to be buried in the church of the parish where his death occurred. He died 6 Mar. 1623, and an inquisition post mortem was held the same year.5
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxix), 374; Trans. Salop Arch.